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Richard Fox has been flying since his teens, but—like thousands of U.S. pilots—he’s considering shifting to the light sport aircraft category because of the potential burden posed by the third class medical examination. “I’ve got a current medical,” said Fox, 58, of Gettysburg, Pa., who has owned a series of Waco, Pitts, and Stearman biplanes since the 1970s. “But I’m not sure it will be worth the trouble and expense of maintaining it in the future, so I’m planning to switch gears.” AOPA has long sought, and petitioned on a number of occasions, to reduce or eliminate the burdens that a requirement for third class medicals imposes on pilots, but the FAA has always insisted on first having data showing such a move wouldn’t diminish flying safety. Now, AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association are spearheading a major new initiative to give pilots an option—continue to get a third class medical or, in addition to holding a valid driver’s license, complete an online education program on medical self-certification and fly certain aircraft. Read more >>
It’s been a good run for the Garmin GNS 430-530 line of navigation products, but with technology moving onward, the time has come to discontinue them, the manufacturer said in a Nov. 1 announcement. Garmin said that it will “discontinue production of the GNS 530W navigator beginning November 30, 2011. While the GNS 430W series product is still available, Garmin anticipates this product will be discontinued in the first half of 2012.” The company pledged support of the product lines “for years to come.” Read more >>
ForeFlight offers update, weather data
ForeFlight has announced the arrival of ForeFlight Mobile 4.2, for immediate download. The release revamps ForeFlight’s mapping engine “with TFR overlays, a new downloadable World Map, extra zoom levels, and interactive Airmets, Sigmets, and Pireps.” Read more >>
Sky’s no limit for Bulldog
Marine Sgt. Michael “Bulldog” Blair considered his options for a career after retiring from the Corps: He had the job skills to start work right away, but lacked one thing he wanted—education, he said. So he made a characteristically “Bulldog” decision. “I decided to do the hardest thing I possibly could and become an engineer,” he said. He moved to Arizona with his wife and daughter in February, retired in March, and spent the summer fixing up the family’s new house and flying. Now he’s hunkered down focusing on his studies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Read more >>
Cessna jet flies honorees to Veterans Day event
Cessna Aircraft Co., joining in the work of the nonprofit Veterans Airlift Command (VAC), announced Nov. 10 that a special company jet would fly two wounded veterans from San Antonio, Texas, to VAC's annual fundraiser in Pinehurst, N.C., where the soldiers would be honored on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Cessna designated a Citation Mustang it named the American Patriot to fly the mission and others for VAC, an organization that provides free medical and compassionate transportation for wounded veterans and their families. Read more >>
Skyport's grand experiment open for business
“We're going to change the way we train pilots.” That was the message from John King, co-founder and owner of King Schools, on the opening of the Redbird Skyport in San Marcos, Texas, Nov. 8. King and about 300 other people from the local community and aviation industry were there to celebrate a new grand experiment in flight training. The Skyport was built by Redbird Flight Simulations, maker of the FMX low-cost, full-motion simulator for general aviation. Read more >>
2012 ‘Bahamas & Caribbean Pilot’s Guide’ available
The thirty-fourth edition of the Bahamas & Caribbean Pilot’s Guide has been published. The 2012 edition of the 400-page spiral bound book includes newly designed island maps and an extended Haiti section for humanitarian aid pilots, according to Pilot Publishing Inc. Read more >>
GAMA: Decline in aircraft deliveries slows
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) reported a slower decline in shipments of general aviation aircraft after nine months of 2011 than occurred in just the first half of the year. But GAMA warned that a fragile industry could still be derailed by “misguided tax policies,” in a reference to deficit-cutting proposals from the Obama administration that target aviation, which are under strong industry criticism. Read more >>
Cirrus reports growth despite uncertain economy
Cirrus Aircraft reported increased production during the third quarter in an announcement that differentiated company performance from overall industry statistics. During the third quarter, Cirrus completed 68 new aircraft, seven more than during the third quarter of 2010, said Todd Simmons, vice president of sales and marketing. Read more >>
Piper revenue, deliveries trend higher
Piper Aircraft reported better revenue, growth in aircraft deliveries, and a strong order backlog in third-quarter figures released Nov. 7. Revenue from new aircraft sales rose to $92.5 million, or 19 percent, through the end of the third quarter, compared to $77.6 million during the same period in 2010, the company said. Read more >>
GA advocate Coyne honored with NAA award
From the cockpit to Congress, the private sector, and academia, a life’s work promoting aviation and safety of flight has earned National Air Transportation Association President James Coyne a Wesley L. McDonald Elder Statesman of Aviation award from the National Aeronautic Association. Coyne accepted the prestigious industry honor at the NAA Fall Awards Banquet Nov. 7 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va. Read more >>
Coffee-to-cash concept considered for grant
Ever wonder how much coffee is consumed by pilots? Rob Riggen did the math, and the numbers are huge—on the order of $1 billion worth of coffee a year. It would be a great thing for aviation, the flight instructor from Vermont thought, if profits from those coffee sales could help support aviation charitable work. Riggen’s “bootstrap” enterprise, Flying High Coffee, is now in the final round of voting for a $50,000 grant in the Pepsi Refresh Project, a program that Pepsi says “is funding amazing ideas that refresh the world.” Read more >>
Airline flight academy opens to public
Aerosim Flight Academy in Sanford, Fla., has opened its training courses to the public for the first time in five years. The academy, formerly known as Delta Connection Academy, offers career-oriented pilot training to nearly 600 students at four facilities. About 60 to 70 percent of the students are international students. Read more >>
Florida Air Museum to expand
The Florida Air Museum on the grounds of the Sun ’n Fun campus in Lakeland, Fla., is building a 4,000-square-foot addition that will be unveiled in 2012. The addition will house a high-tech computer lab and additional classrooms, thus enabling the museum to enhance an increasing number of year-round youth and adult education programs, Florida Air Museum Board Chairman Pat Hill said in a news release. It will be called the Piedmont Hangar Aerospace and Technology Lab. Read more >>
Former U.S. Air Force test pilot Keith Colmer will be one of the astronaut pilots to carry tourists on suborbital space flights for Virgin Galactic, the company announced Oct. 27. Colmer, who has combat and test flight experience as well as experience in spacecraft operations, was selected from more than 500 applicants to be the first to join the commercial spaceline’s flight team, Virgin Galactic said. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Last Super Cub can be yours
Often copied, never duplicated, the venerable Piper Cub and later Super Cub have become synonymous with light airplanes in the minds of the public—and for good reason. The classic airplanes are plentiful, practical, and a sheer delight to fly. Now you can own a piece of the airplanes’ history, as what is claimed to be the very last Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub produced is up for sale by its owner. Read more >>
Goodyear blimp: Best seats in the house
If you're watching the Miami-Florida State football game this weekend, some of what you see will be coming live and direct from the Goodyear blimp. The iconic airships have been part of sports coverage for decades. The Aviators takes a look at what it takes to fly and maintain the world's most recognized lighter-than-air craft. Watch AOPA Live® >>
Bizav tech on display at NBAA
If you didn't get to the NBAA convention in Las Vegas this year, AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne gives you a quick look at a few things you missed in the exhibit hall. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
The first time a pilot becomes disoriented in IMC can leave a lasting impression. When you’re not sure which way is up, you have to rely on cues around you to stay oriented. But which cues are correct? What the airplane is telling you, or what your body is telling you? Take the safety quiz on spatial disorientation from the Air Safety Institute, sponsored by the AOPA Insurance Agency, and check how much you know about what causes, and how to prevent, not knowing up from down. Take the quiz >>
Out in the cold: Winterize your aircraft
Winter is fast approaching: Many parts of the country have already had a taste (or more) of snow this season. Wherever you keep your aircraft, consider taking steps to prepare it for the winter months. Measures like adding air to the tires and inspecting the cabin heat system can help prevent cold-weather hazards from getting the best of you this winter. Find tips on winterizing your aircraft in AOPA’s subject report.
Know before you go
Are you allowed to fly into a controlled firing area … how about a special flight rules area? For answers to these questions and to delve into other airspace such as ADIZ, MOA, MTR, TFR, and NSA, enter the Air Safety Institute’s aptly named Know Before You Go: Navigating Today’s Airspace online course. Tips, animations, and interactive quizzes test your newly acquired knowledge along the way. Shield yourself from inadvertently busting airspace: Take the course before your next cross-country flight.
IFR Fix: How to break out
“Breaking out” is the climactic moment on an instrument approach. Descending to minimums, there will be either a landing or a missed approach in your immediate future. Which is it going to be? In the real world of instrument approaches this moment and the flying that delivers you to it doesn’t much resemble the way inside-the-final-approach-fix flying scenarios are presented in training under simulated instrument conditions. When do you begin looking for the runway environment? Read more and take the poll >>
Improve your safety by learning from others
Gain valuable knowledge about flying safely by learning from the mistakes of others. Using your ePilot personalization preferences, like "piston single-engine" or "turbine," the Air Safety Institute's Accident Database generates a list of accidents that have been added to the database in the past 30 days. If you haven't personalized your newsletter, select your aircraft preferences from the "types of aircraft" section on the ePilot personalization page.
Leading Edge: In preparation for the spin cycle
Every few years AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg goes through an unusual attitude refresher just to remember that airplanes are controllable even outside of normal flight parameters. This year, instructor and International Aerobatic Club Government Relations Committee National Representative Bill Finagin did the honors. The Pitts S-2C is an excellent platform in which to explore those areas that we really should be avoiding in transportation or basic training aircraft. What are your thoughts on spin training? Read more and take the poll >>
FCC urged to squelch LightSquared’s spectrum
The Coalition to Save Our GPS is seeking the immediate revocation of LightSquared’s ability to transmit in its upper band of the mobile satellite spectrum. The company’s proposed telecommunications network has become a bureaucratic battleground over signal interference with aviation navigation and other GPS users. The coalition filed its request with the Federal Communications Commission on Nov. 8, citing test evidence that it said shows that LightSquared could never be able to use the upper band for the terrestrial operations portion of its network. Read more >>
10,000-sq-ft NextGen test bed opens
An expanded 10,000-square-foot test-bed facility for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) opened Nov. 7 at Daytona Beach International Airport following a congressional field hearing on the airspace-modernization effort. The product of a partnership between FAA, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Daytona Beach International Airport, the Florida NextGen Test Bed “allows the federal government to take advantage of the University and private sector expertise in developing and testing NextGen technologies,” according to a news release from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Read more >>
FAA updates CFI renewal clinic guidelines
Three little words are creating a buzz in the aviation safety industry: angle of attack. The FAA recently updated its advisory circular that lays the framework for flight instructor refresher clinics (FIRCs). The agency added angle of attack to one of the 10 core topics that must be covered in FIRCs. “Angle of attack is often misunderstood,” said AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg, who has written extensively about the topic. “Ensuring instructors have a comprehensive understanding of angle of attack and can teach it to their students will help to reduce the accident rate.” Read more >>
Advisory committee gives GA voice in security
AOPA Manager of Aviation Security Tom Zecha has been appointed to represent airport tenants and general aviation on the Department of Homeland Security’s Aviation Security Advisory Committee. After a five-year hiatus, the committee has been re-formed to give stakeholders a voice in aviation security policies.
AOPA’s EA+ fills the gap with health insurance
If you’ve ever been in the position of having a medical emergency away from home, you know how quickly money can fly through your hands. Medical insurance rarely pays for all the incidental expenses you incur. That’s where EA+ comes in. EA stands for emergency assistance, and that’s what this plan provides. It’s not medical insurance, but it bridges the gap between what your medical plan covers and the emergency expenses most health insurance plans never pay. Read more >>
Medications update: Victoza for diabetes
The FAA has established certification procedures for a new diabetes medication, Victoza (liraglutide), a once-daily injectable medication called a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1). It works by helping the pancreas make more insulin following a meal. The “fine print” for FAA medical certification purposes is a little complicated. AOPA Director of Medical Certification Gary Crump provides a synopsis in this selection from the AOPA Medical Services Program newsletter. Members enrolled in the program get valuable information like this and much more.
BlackBerry, Windows Mobile apps keep airport info at hand
AOPA members can have airport services, FBO information, airport diagrams, and more on their Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices using AOPA Airports apps, developed by Hilton Software, maker of the popular WingX product. Download it today >>
AOPA 2012 Tougher than a Tornado Sweepstakes
The date for AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman’s often-postponed flight to spread his stepfather’s ashes above the Statue of Liberty was finally set for Nov. 6, but that morning, as before, there was a complication. A stubborn head cold had kept his ears plugged for days, and no amount of chicken soup, hot tea, orange juice, or nasal sprays seemed to make any difference. He considered a compromise: On a much shorter flight to Annapolis, Md., he and his mother could spread the ashes over the Chesapeake Bay near the Naval Academy. His wife rejected it out of hand. “Look, John was a New Yorker,” she said. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a communications coordinator, manager of flight training programs, online product manager, AOPA Live producer/videojournalist, Web business analyst, medical certification assistant, associate editor–Web, associate editor–Web/ ePilot, aviation technical specialist, and manager of airspace and modernization. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.